Newport Beach California Temple
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Blessed by the Temple, Even When It's Closed

Eugenie Stoll
05/21/21 | 3 min read

“Being worthy to hold a current temple recommend is both a protection from the adversary ... and a promise that the Spirit will be with you.”
—Elder Ronald A. Rasband, “Recommended to the Lord,” Oct. 2020 general conference

It was a long, hard day. Some days are like that—especially during the seventh month of a worldwide pandemic. When I woke up wanting to cry for no apparent reason, I knew I’d be facing an uphill struggle. Depression and I are well acquainted, although I wouldn’t call us friends. It always shows up uninvited and stays too long. Over the years I’ve learned to recognize this intruder and muster through its stifling presence.

It didn’t help when I received the news that David, my severely autistic 16-year-old, wouldn’t be returning to school the next week, as had been planned. His school reported that they were struggling with a staffing shortage and weren’t able to provide a return date.

I had been counting down the weeks and days until he returned. We could get through one more week. But so much for that. David would now be going into his seventh month of being home all day.

I pushed myself to get through the responsibilities of the day. I tried working on mindfulness and a few other strategies designed to help me feel better. But it was no use. I still felt bad. Sometimes, the heavy weight of depression eases as the day progresses. But not that day.

By early evening I was done trying to make myself feel better, and I was done trying to be productive. I found myself slumped into the couch waiting for bedtime. I had reached the conclusion that sleep was my best option. Maybe I’d feel better in the morning.

“A member of the bishopric is going to call at 7 p.m. to do my temple recommend interview. Do you want to do yours at the same time?” my husband, Rob, asked.

“I don’t have to do it today, do I?” I asked.

“You might as well.”

The idea of doing a recommend interview over the phone felt a little awkward. But the real reason for my hesitation was how bad I felt. I wasn’t opposed to renewing my recommend, just not then. What if I started to cry when asked how I was doing? Besides, it’s not like I needed my recommend right away. The temples were closed due to the pandemic.

The bishop’s counselor was prompt and called at 7. I was irritated when I heard Rob on the phone telling the counselor how well things were going for us at home. Sure, we were getting by, but it wasn’t easy. We were all feeling the strain of the restrictions imposed by the pandemic.

When it was my turn to speak, I made sure to tell the person on the other end that I had had a really long day. After some small talk, the first counselor got to the point and asked me the first question on the list of temple questions.

“Yes,” I responded. I could barely get the word out when I started to choke up. I had to work really hard to push back the tears and compose myself to answer the next question.

It was such an unexpected and intense emotional response, it took me by surprise. I’d been concerned about crying during the interview, but not for this reason. The emotion I felt at that moment didn’t come from feeling depressed; it came from the Spirit. The moment I said “yes” and affirmed my faith in Jesus Christ, I felt a rush of goodness, warmth, and spiritual joy enter my being.

My temple recommend had actually expired three months earlier, but because temples were closed and I hadn’t needed to use it, I didn’t notice that it had expired. It wasn’t until I felt the rush of the Holy Ghost’s presence that I realized what I’d been missing out on. I’d been starving myself of much needed spirituality.

The beautiful feeling of comfort and joy that I received during my interview stayed with me for the rest of the evening. The dark, heavy feeling that had overshadowed my day was dispelled and replaced with warmth and goodness.

I’ve often gone to the temple seeking relief when I’m struggling with depression, and it has always helped improve my mental health, along with my other coping strategies. This time I wasn’t able to go to the temple to help myself feel better, but I was still blessed with the emotional healing I’d usually receive from going. It was as if I had attended the temple that day.

I gained a new understanding and testimony of the importance of having a temple recommend. Even when we don’t have access to a temple, we can still receive temple blessings by maintaining a current recommend.


Eugenie Stoll
Eugenie Stoll was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa. After serving a mission, she completed a master’s degree in social work at Brigham Young University, where she met her husband, Robert. They are the busy parents of four. Her greatest education has come from raising a severely disabled child. She enjoys shopping, napping, and expensive chocolate.
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